Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

James Byo


The purpose of this study was to investigate secondary school students' responses to wind band music. Four variables--attention to the stimulus, familiarity, intellectual response, and emotional response--identified in research as characteristics of an aesthetic response were examined. Junior high (n = 60) and high school (n = 60) band students were randomly assigned to one of two listening conditions. In order to isolate focus of attention, subjects in a focused listening condition indicated preferences while listening to each excerpt by operating a Continuous Response Digital Interface dial. Subjects in an unfocused listening condition listened to each excerpt in an unrestricted environment. All subjects listened to both a familiar and unfamiliar excerpt. Upon completion of the listening task for each excerpt, subjects responded to items on a questionnaire. The effects of focus of attention and familiarity were measured by Likert Scale ratings for preference, perception of musical elements, and behavioral intent. Subjects' intellectual and emotional responses were represented by written verbal descriptions. Results indicated that focus of attention increased the percentage of figurative words/phrases used by junior high students to describe emotions within the familiar excerpt. Familiarity increased the percentage of analytical terms used by junior high subjects to describe the music. Subjects across groups appeared to respond to the music in some intellectual capacity as evidenced by discrimination in ratings across musical elements, and the large percentage of analytical terms used to describe the music. Subjects also appeared to respond emotionally to the music as evidenced by the large percentage of figurative words/phrases used to describe emotional responses, and the large percentage of different words used to independently describe the mood of the music and feelings created by the music. Overall, it appears that if subjects responded aesthetically to the wind band excerpts, focus of attention and familiarity, as defined in this study, were not contributing factors, thus casting some doubt on their relationship to an aesthetic experience. Subjects, however, demonstrated the ability to respond intellectually and emotionally, thereby indicating the potential for these factors to contribute to the aesthetic responsiveness of secondary school band students.